Another tango, another time

© Text and photos J. Alberto Mariñas

Paris is living a new-born century, a century which is still gay and which has still not been baptised by fire. From across the Atlantic, from a prosperous and rich country, a new, provocative and attractive dance has arrived, one that is full of evocations and rhythms, and which has quickly been adopted by the gay bourgeoisie, the same sector of society that fills the Moulin de la Galette or spunkily attends the masquerade balls.

old dance postcard

Soon, the dance becomes all the rage. The fashionable tango that is used for naming a cocktail or a colour and that even serves as a trademark for teas. Dancers take pleasure in the transgression, the closeness, the cheek rubbing. Meanwhile, parents, kings and puritans condemn the depravation that has come from abroad.

old dance postcard
 
old dance postcard

Guillaume. Au cours de Tango

English postcards

old dance postcard

Most people were unaware that this tango was but a mere domesticated version of a much more passionate dance only performed in brothels. But that did not matter. Europe was happy with its tango and Argentina no longer had any qualms admitting that prodigal dance which, after its tour, was able to conquer the best neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, while never abandoning its humble origins.  

old dance postcard

French postcards

old dance postcard
Written on the back of this postcard are the words: "My esteemed friend, I could not go to see you this summer because, as you can see, all summer long I was dancing the Argentine tango, as shown in the photograph (neither one gram more nor one gram less of spice) but I am going to stop by one of these afternoons and I hope that then we will also dance a great Argentine dance and play a monumental tennis match. My regards to all and until we meet again, I am always your affectionate friend,

q.b.s.p.        18-Sep. 1914"

Those were other times.

old dance postcard

English postcard

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